April 12, 2020

Some Easter Prayers

I'll start out with this German Reformed prayer, because it was so easily adapted to the current situation:
Today we celebrate Easter, O God,
the victory of life over death.
But now as much as ever,
our lives are still defined by death.
Today we celebrate Easter,
the victory of joy over adversity.
But especially during this time of pandemic,
our lives are still overshadowed by suffering.
Though we can only sense your new reality,
we trust in your power to transform us.
In the Name of Jesus,
we pray that your Easter light
will shine today on a fearful world.
—Adapted from Reformierte Liturgie: Gebete und Ordnungen
für die unter dem Wort versammelte Gemeinde 
This one is my favorite prayer with which to open Easter Sunday worship:
Glory be to you, O God,
our strength and our redeemer.
The vacant cross and the empty tomb
vindicate your claim
that the love which suffers is the love that saves.
So fill your people with joy
and your church with celebration,
that the world may know that your holy Son Jesus
is not a dead hero we commemorate
but the living Lord we worship,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
we give glory forever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Order, Church of Scotland
I used this adaption as my pastoral prayer in this morning's worship video:
We thank you, God,
that you are the victorious Lord,
conqueror of the cross and the grave.
We thank you that,
in Jesus Christ and his resurrection,
you have overcome death,
and that you stand—
once and for all—for life.

Therefore, during this critical time,
we pray to you
for all who are facing the power of death:
for the sick and for the dying,
for those who are most at-risk,
for the lonely and desperate;
that in hearing the gospel of life,
they may find help and strength.

We pray to you for all
who are even now fighting the power of death:
doctors, nurses, scientists, and government leaders:
Grant them wisdom and persistence
in their fight against a pandemic.
May they be inspired by your knowledge,
and may your help give the world hope,
even as your Holy Spirit gives life.

And for ourselves, O God:
we pray that—even in isolation—
you will grant such an abundance of your creative power,
that we, too,
might stand with others in the struggle for life,
and face the difficult days ahead
in the sure knowledge
that, though he was dead and buried,
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Amen!
—Adapted from Reformierte Liturgie: Gebete und Ordnungen
für die unter dem Wort versammelte Gemeinde
One of the most commonly prayed Easter prayers in the English-speaking world:
O God, who for our redemption
didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
hast delivered us from the power of our enemy:
Grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
—Anglican Book of Common Prayer
I like how this prayer culminates:
This is a morning of blessing
for all places and for all time,
holy, almighty God—
a day of joyful victory for all the afflicted,
all who are worried, all who are exhausted.

O eternal and faithful Christ,
we celebrate your resurrection.
Because you live, we also shall live.
In our grateful amazement,
we rejoice with all of creation.
The light has conquered.
Our joy is great.
The stone has been rolled away.
Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Amen.
—Adapted from Gerhard Engelsberger's Gebete für den Gottesdiens

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